The 5 Best Book Cover Designers for Self-Published Authors

How do you find the best book cover designers?

Naturally, we think about this question a lot. So many lists exist, so why would creating another one be any different, more helpful, or unique for an author searching for book cover designers?

Then it dawned on us.

Filters. To get the best recommendations for the best options available, we can apply certain filters to curate a manageable list and guarantee good results.

What do we mean by filters? Being designers, we think that a visual here is worth 1,000 words:

Venn Diagram showing how to find the best book cover designers for self published authors
Best Book Cover Designer Venn Diagram

Each filter distills the vast pool of options to the most capable, longstanding, honest, and professional options for self-publishing authors. Note that we didn’t say traditionally published authors. Many exceptionally talented book cover designers exist, but large traditional publishers take up most of their work, and rightly so. This post is for book cover designers who have chosen to serve the humble self-published author as their client and provide them work that can hold up against traditionally published work.

Okay, onward – let’s get into each filter that we have applied to get this list of book cover designers, and why it’s important for you, the author.

1. Longevity

How long a book cover designer has been in business is probably one of the most critical filters to apply as it removes the fly-by-night operations and naturally signals the following:

  • Client Satisfaction: Longevity signifies quality and ongoing client satisfaction, which are essential for word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Time Management & Burnout: Indicates the cover designer’s ability to manage workload without quality suffering.
  • Pricing Strategy: Shows that pricing reflects value, balancing demand without compromising service. A service that charges too much or too little will not stand the test of time.
  • Future Availability: A long history suggests that designers are reliable for future needs, like file access, edits, or continuation for a series design.
  • Proven Track Record: Longevity suggests that previous clients have had positive experiences, as businesses depend heavily on word of mouth.

We have only included book cover designers who have been in business since 2014 (or earlier)

2. Pricing

Everyone knows that pricing is paramount for self-publishing authors. As we discussed in the first filter, longevity, if a cover design service has been around for 10+ years, they have likely figured out pricing that allows them to remain a viable business while still providing value to their clients.

Many authors will find pricing that is too high unpalatable. However, if the service prices too low, that can indicate cutting corners, such as not licensing images or fonts. Alternatively, if a designer is any good and charging too little, they may be heading straight for burnout (something that we’ve witnessed in the industry time and time again).

We have included only the book cover designers who meet the following pricing criteria in this list:

  • Value for Money: Have cover design packages priced between $500 – $1000 USD, ensuring a balance between quality and affordability, while allowing them to remain a viable business without burning out.
  • Clear Pricing on the website: Clear and upfront listing of cover design package prices on their website, helping you make informed decisions without hidden costs or the need to contact them for a quote.
  • Package Options: Availability of different pricing packages to cater to various author needs and budgets, allowing flexibility in choosing a package that best suits your requirements.

3. Quantity

At first glance, you might wonder why this is an important filter (don’t worry, we also use a “Quality” filter). Quantity is crucial because you want your book cover designer to have already gotten their reps in. This means they should be well-versed in the common pitfalls of the self-publishing process, aware of overused tropes in cover design, and knowledgeable about genre expectations. These skills are primarily cultivated through the repetition of doing something many times.

If you encounter an error uploading your file, you want someone who has dealt with it hundreds of times already so you’re not left handling it on your own. You want a designer familiar with preparing covers for every major printer and distributor. The quantity filter also acknowledges the ability to manage multiple projects without compromising on deadlines, communication, or overall quality.

We have only included book cover designers on this list who have designed a minimum of 500 book covers.

4. Quality

This wouldn’t be a very good list without this filter. For the “Quality” filter, consider portfolio diversity, design uniqueness, and genre comprehension. Quality is crucial as it directly influences a book’s market appeal and reader first impressions.

Quality is obviously subjective, but it can be defined through the visual appeal, adherence to genre conventions without being cliché, and overall design execution. High-quality designs stand out, effectively communicate the book’s theme, and engage the target audience.

Here’s why quality matters:

  • Visual Appeal: Their covers pass the eye test of a commercially viable cover design.
  • Genre Comprehension: The covers should fit well within their respective genres, effectively conveying the book’s tone and content without resorting to clichés.
  • Varied Portfolio: The portfolio should include examples of the genre and style of cover that represent the aesthetic and tone that you are after. It doesn’t make sense to request a mainstream non-fiction cover design from a designer that only has urban fantasy cover designs displayed in their portfolio. Bonus points if you can filter the designers portfolio by genre to quickly get a sense of their design style within your book’s (sub)genre.

The quality filter ensures the selected designers fundamentally understand what makes a commercially viable book cover, and have a diverse portfolio to show for it.

5. Credibility

Credibility is the final filter we apply to ensure that the book cover designers on our list are trustworthy and highly regarded in the industry. For this filter we look for one or more of the following:

  • Professional Affiliations: Designers affiliated with reputable independent publishing associations (e.g., Alliance of Independent Authors) are often more reliable and adhere to industry standards.
  • Verified Client Reviews: We have included designers who have at least 25 different verified client reviews (on and off their website like Facebook, Reddit, TrustPilot etc) vouching for their credibility, effective communication, collaboration, and quality. We have checked to make sure these are real authors and not just fabricated names (which we have seen done!). We also check to see if some of these authors are top selling ones in their genre. Designers who have worked with top-selling authors often have a proven track record of delivering high-quality, marketable covers.
  • Risk Free Guarantee: Many designers who are confident in their process and product offer a guarantee to remove any financial risk on the author’s side. This shows their confidence in their ability to meet client expectations and deliver quality work.

By applying this credibility filter, we ensure that the designers on our list are not only skilled but also trustworthy and highly recommended within the self-publishing community.

These are the best book cover designers:

Now that we have our five filters, lets take a look which book cover designers for self published authors we can select for our list.

1. Ebook Launch

Ebook Launch, serving self-published authors since 2011, offers top-notch cover designs for both ebooks and print books. Our custom book cover designs start at $497. We’ve created thousands of covers over the years, with hundreds showcased here, and have 100+ five-star reviews on Facebook. We provide a full money-back guarantee and deliver initial designs within 2 weeks. Industry endorsements from Mark Coker and Joanna Penn, along with their status as a Partner member of the Alliance of Independent Authors since 2014, highlight our professional excellence.

2. Damonza

Damon Freeman and his team at Damonza have been a constant presence in the self published cover design space since 2012. They’re always considered on recommended lists and one look at their portfolio will tell you why! They have clear pricing for their cover packages with their ebook + paperback cover package currently starting at $645 with design extras available, an affiliation with the Alliance of Independent Authors, and a solid deposit-back guarantee for peace of mind.

book cover designers examples - Damonza

3. Bookfly Design

James T. Egan has been rocking the book cover design scene with Bookfly Design since 2013. He’s been a staple for indie authors, especially in genres like Mystery & Thriller. His pricing is clear and fair, with ebook covers at $649 and print covers at $799. James has crafted hundreds of stunning covers and has tons of happy clients singing his praises. Just a heads-up: he’s often booked six or more months out, so plan ahead if you want to work with him!

book cover designers examples - BookFly

4. CreativIndie Covers

Derek Murphy, behind CreativIndie, has been a major player in book cover design since 2012. Known for his vibrant covers, Derek’s services start at $349 for eBooks and $549 for print covers. He’s created hundreds of covers and is widely recognized in the industry. Derek’s influence extends beyond cover design – he runs an author blog, an editing service, a DIY cover design site, and is an author himself​. His comprehensive expertise and numerous resources make him a top choice for self-published authors

5. Stuart Bache Design (formerly Books Covered)

Stuart Bache is a highly experienced book cover designer with nearly two decades in the industry, having worked with notable authors such as Mark Dawson. His company offers custom ebook cover designs starting at £650 (~700 USD) and paperback plus ebook at £800 (~$860 USD at the time of this writing). Stuart’s work is renowned for blending style with marketability, and will often speak at conferences on the topic of cover design.

book cover designers examples - Stuart Bache

There we have it! What we think are the 5 best book cover designer options for self-published authors. Do know of a great designer that meets these criteria and is missing from the list? Contact us and so we can review and consider when we update the post in the future.

Want another opinion? Damonza has also curated a list of his recommended best book cover designers, which is worth checking out.